Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The results of my first attempt at shooting Manhattanhenge.
For those who don’t know, Manhattanhenge is a twice-yearly occurrence—a few weeks before and after the summer solstice—when the setting sign lines up perfectly with the Manhattan street grid. That is, as the sun sets, it is completely visible as it sits perfectly between the canyons of buildings on either side of the city’s streets (not avenues), which run east-west.
This was the first time I was free and actually in Manhattan to shoot the event. Everything was going really well at first: I’d picked out a primo spot (the intersection of Park Ave. and 34th St., which would give me a shot that included the definitive silhouette of the Empire State Building), the weather seemed to be pretty good… Of course, it all turned out to be too good to last! Just at the critical moments in the sunset, a huge cloud settled on the horizon over New Jersey, blotting out the sun from view! Well…hopefully I’ll get another chance again next year.
Although the view of the sunset itself wasn’t so great that night, the evening was not a total loss. It blew my mind seeing so many people turn out to try and get a good photo! It seemed the population ran the gamut from iPhone amateur to tripod-wielding semi-pro! It was really quite a show, just to watch all these photographers trying to get a good shot. (I could not help but be reminded of the paparazzi in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.) So if you ever go to shoot Manhattanhenge, remember that human nature can result in a show that’s just as interesting and amusing as anything Nature herself can come up with!